Truth comes in many forms from many sources, including imagination

This is something I knew even as a child, as I relied upon my imagination to protect me from a world that could otherwise destroy me. For me, only one thing was certain: I could not survive without my imagination to take me away from that which terrified me.

My sense of the world has always been open to the uncertainty necessary for creativity. In fact, I’m in love with it. I love not knowing what words, what thoughts, what extraordinary creatures will come to me as I write creatively. It’s fun. It’s interesting. It’s never boring.

And ironically, sometimes uncertainty can actually provide certainty…at least as much certainty as one requires to survive in a chaotic world.

As Zat Rana [the writer of the article to which this is a response] eventually came to understand, the imagination can be the most reliable source of deeper truths than science. Science cannot speak to moral choices. Science cannot speak truths to fear, grief, loss, nor even love. Only the imagination can reach into those depths.

I stand with William Blake:

“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.”

“What is now proved was once only imagined.”

“To the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”

For Blake, imagination is an equal if not greater component than logic in the acquisition of truth. Reason deprived of imagination may arrive at “facts” but isolated from the imagination and from humane thinking it produces falsehoods. For instance, it produces the falsehood that we are each and every one of us separate, singular beings with no visible connections.

Imagination SEES connections not visible to the physical eye, nor through any technological extension of the physical eye.

Of course, Imagination not tempered by reason produces chaos. In the initial stages of creativity, chaos is essential to the creation of something new, never thought of before, never imagined. Reason fears that newness, that uncertainty, and tries to control it.

The job of reason is to shape that initial chaotic creation into meaningful form. But it has nothing to shape if it blocks out that initial chaos.

It is in the dance of the two that we arrive at truth — that is, meaningful knowledge about ourselves and our world that is beyond utilitarian: it is pleasurable; it is intimate; it is emotionally satisfying; it opens our minds to the possibility — and the pure JOY of new knowledge.

I have never understood the resistance to — the FEAR of — uncertainty. Certainty would make life so extraordinarily boring no being with a mind to comprehend that certainty would want to live it.

I have never understood the resistance to — the FEAR of — uncertainty. Certainty would make life so extraordinarily boring no being with a mind to comprehend that certainty would want to live it.

I suppose this seems bizarre given that the childhood I used my imagination to escape from was chaotic. But the difference is that as long as I “lost” myself in my imagination, ultimately I controlled what happened. So I created my own certainties.

Sounds like a total contradiction, I suppose. But that is really the foundation of true knowledge: that sometimes contradictories are true, even at the same time. And it requires imagination to see that truth.

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.